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Distilling Inspired by Nature

E600CA23-A5CF-4F30-BC0F-7E8B830451E0@2x Jun 03 2021 · 3 min read

Inspired by Nature’s Perfection

Our idyllic surroundings and nature’s perfection are a constant source of inspiration for our whisky.  That is why, when designing our new Distillery, we put nature at the heart of our processes to ensure that the creation of our precious single malt whisky will endure for generations to come.

The Macallan Distillery Roof

Under our Rolling Green Roofscape

Habitat mitigation and enhancement played a key part in the design of our new distillery which blends effortlessly into the ancient hills of our Speyside home with one of Europe’s largest green roofs at just over 12,000m2.  

Designed by internationally acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, our rolling green roofscape is cut into the natural slopes of the land. The roof was built using PEFC certified timber and then covered with a mix of native species of grasses and herbs; these plants on the roof provide a sustainable food and nesting environment for birds and insects.


Truly Sustainable Distillation, by Design

The natural aesthetic of our Distillery design belies the mix of traditional craftsmanship and state-of-the-art engineering that resides within. We seek to create a truly sustainable distillation process which produces unparalleled single malt whisky without disturbing the balance of life around us.

The Distillery achieves significant energy efficiency from our operations and integrated decarbonisation benefits from our intelligent heat recovery system and inbuilt steam and process control system.

At present, over 97% of our energy derives from renewable and non-fossil fuel sources and it is with a single-minded, uncompromising focus that we strive to achieve our ambitious target of being entirely carbon neutral by 2030, a decade ahead of the Scotch Whisky Association’s industry target. Our carbon-intensity objectives align with SECR reporting standards (Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting) and link directly with ongoing energy-efficiency improvement planning all of which is managed and driven our Carbon Reduction Team.

The Macallan Estate Achieves 97% Verified Renewable Energy

Since the end of 2021, The Macallan Estate has been operating on 97% verified renewable energy comprising electricity, biomass steam and gas, an achievement that has required significant focus and investment to build partnerships with our energy suppliers which ensure the use of verified local sustainable energy sources:


  • The Macallan distillery stills are heated by steam from biomass generated from an energy-efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) process.  The requirement for steam is our biggest use of energy on the Estate, all of which is provided by a small, local supplier - Speyside Renewable Energy Partnership (SREP) – located less than 1.5 miles away.


  • The SREP plant is fuelled with sustainable low-grade wood including forest residue and offcut wood harvested from local FSC certified forestry operations.  All SREP biomass energy is Ofgem accredited as being 100% renewable.  



  • The remaining energy requirement on our Estate is provided by gas, which is backed by Renewable Gas Guarantee of Origin (RGGO) certificates.  Each RGGO contains information about where, when, and how that gas was produced.  Our RGGOs are sourced from a nearby anaerobic digestion plant which creates biogas from distillery co-products such as draff and pot ale, some of which comes from The Macallan.


The above combines to account for 97% of our energy use on The Macallan Estate, typically with renewable electricity comprising 9%, RGGO-backed natural gas 33% and local, Ofgem accredited biomass 55%.


The majority of our remaining 3% non-renewable fuel comprises vehicles and stationary plant, both of which are in the process of being transitioned to a combination of electric vehicles where technologically feasible, such as our 11 site vans, and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO or ‘green diesel’) fuelled vehicles, such as our 6 working site tractors.  Our working vehicle transition will be complete within 2022.  Our remaining 1% non-renewable fuel profile covers portable plant (lawn mowers, power washers, welding kits etc) that is not required for classification in our emissions disclosures.


Sourcing Water from the Majestic River Spey

Process water used in the production process at The Macallan Distillery is sourced from boreholes on the banks of the majestic River Spey.  Cooling water used in our distillation process also comes directly from - and is returned to - the river, with a small amount lost in evaporation. 

The River Spey is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) and as such, water quality, water use efficiency and water stewardship are of fundamental importance to us.  An onsite treatment plant processes distillery wastewater to allow it to be returned to the natural water environment and our water use is authorised with Licences issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and assessed annual for compliance as part of the SEPA Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS).



Accountable to the Highest Independent Standards


For over 20 years our distillery operations have been accredited with ISO14001 Environmental Management certification, the most rigorous and globally recognised certification for environmental management.  Through this independent assessment framework, we consider all environmental aspects and everything that we interact with, from water use to waste generation, energy consumption and land and habitat management.  In 2020, The Macallan was also awarded the prestigious Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark, a leading sustainability accreditation for luxury demonstrating positive social and environmental actions and impacts. 

The Macallan’s Butterfly Mark accreditation was granted against a set of 11 positive actions that recognise our credentials and ongoing achievements in the areas of: community investment, philanthropy, recyclable packaging, reduced glass weight, protecting biodiversity, reducing water use, reducing CO2, energy efficiency, fair labour, diversity and inclusion and equal pay.


The Macallan Distillery

Progressive Packaging Principles